A Simple and Economical Method for Maintaining Precise, Programmable Thermal Regimes in Recirculating Aquatic Mesocosms

Jacob F. Schaefer, University of Southern Mississippi


A programmable and networkable temperature control system was developed for recirculating aquatic mesocosms. The system allows for dynamic diel thermal regimes that are not possible with commercially available temperature controllers. In operation over 2 years from 2004 to 2006, the system has arrays of tanks that were maintained with stable, variable (constant diel cycle) and stochastic (random diel cycle) thermal regimes. As designed, the system's central computer logs the data and changes set points at regular intervals. Because the dual-stage temperature controllers can be operated over a network, the system is easily expanded to accommodate multiple setups. The controllers can also be operated over a wireless network if necessary. In cases in which greater heating and cooling rates are needed, more powerful equipment can be substituted with minimal change to the controller setup.